'12 Years a Slave' has been added to the school curriculum in the United States.

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) have joined forces with talk show host Montel Williams to make it mandatory for public high schools to teach students the story behind the Oscar-nominated film, which is based on the memoir of Solomon Northup who was abducted and sold into slavery.

Williams said: ''When Hollywood is at its best, the power of the movies can be harnessed into a powerful educational tool.

''This film uniquely highlights a shameful period in American history, and in doing so will evoke in students a desire to not repeat the evils of the past while inspiring them to dream big of a better and brighter future.''

NSBA and Williams have partnered with New Regency, Penguin Books and the filmmakers to distribute copies of the film, book and study guide to schools across the country.

The Steve McQueen-directed film has been nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor's outstanding performance as Northup at the ceremony taking place this on March 2, 2014.